What makes you happy?
Is it big things? Big, shiny moments. Celebrations. Achievements.
Or things that are infinitesimally small? A smile. The smell of fresh baked bread. Raindrops hitting the roof at 1 am?
Or is it circumstantial? A dream job, a dream house, new car smell, jet-setting, a closet brimming over with pretty things?
Of course the word happiness might be misleading. There are other words for similar things that are not the same. Joy. Contentment. Satisfaction. Passion. Peace.
But I suppose what I mean is happiness. Happiness is always a fleeting thing. Sometimes nothing more than an instance of brain chemicals having a dance party for reasons beyond explanation. Understanding it is like trying to catch light in a jar.
Many books have been written about happiness from different angles. The 100 Simple Secrets of Happy People (an insightful book). And of course Gretchen Rubin's The Happiness Project (which I haven't read, but I read enough of her blog before the book came out!). And so many more. I have no secrets to share, but I've been thinking about happiness lately.
I don't think it's so much that I can conjure up happiness, force it to come, but I can create an environment where it is likely to make its appearance more often. I can cultivate a rich soil where seeds of happiness are more likely to flourish and pull out weeds that choke it out.
There are things that I think make me happy, but it turns out they really don't. Even though I keep thinking they will, trying them over and over again:
- Buying something.
- Watching movies or television.
- Spending restless, wandering, or habitual time online.
- Eating something sweet. (Yum)
- Exercise! (Exercise! Exercise!)
- Spending time with people, making new friends - my inner introvert sometimes doesn't want to go out, even though I know it's good for me. And my inner "get things done" driver sometimes doesn't want to stop the progress train to go have quality time.
- Tidiness around the home. Bed made. Clothes on hangers in closet, not in floor. Clutter away. Clean kitchen.
- Writing. It's not hard once I get started and I enjoy it oh-so-much. But my ego has been struggling with it a bit lately, wondering why write if no one will ever read it? I don't know the answer. I only know that it's rewarding to me on a deep level.
But I have this vague sense of wanting to do less of those things that are happiness pretenders and a little more of those things that I know make me healthy and feel good, those things that I often put last.
What makes you happy? Any secrets to share?